Las Pozas is a wonderous sculpture and architecture and bird and animal park in the rainforest built by a highly eccentric Englishman who died in 1984.

First the man: Edward James was the son of a Scottish socialite who was married to an American Railway tycoon.  This mother may have been the daughter or the mistress (or both) of the Prince of Wales… later to become Edward VII ( Queen Victoria’s son) She wasn’t a natural mother and is quoted as saying to the nanny ‘send down one of the children to go to church with me… oh anyone… the one that will go best with my blue dress!’

Edward did marry – a Viennese dancer, but was thought to have been gay and apparently she thought so when she married him… so that didn’t last –  but the divorce was scandalous and he subsequently left England. He wrote poetry and supported and was friends with some famous Surrealist artists: Salvador Dali, Picasso, Magritte and others less well known. He seems to have had quite a sad and lonely life… despite the money. He also sounds to have been obsessive compulsive about cleanliness and pedantic about design and so working for him sounds pretty challenging.

He then met Plutarch Gastelum – a Mexican Architect on his travels in the 50’s and they forged partnership of 30 years developing the site he purchased in Xilitla. He employed up to 150 people at the peak from the local town for thirty years but also liked to watch them by telescope from the Gastelum family home which he shared with them, and which has a view from the town to the site. He died (unexpectedly in Italy) in 1984 without a will and left Plutarch and his family with trying to maintain the property and get it ready for opening to the public. Finally a few years ago the family sold it to a trust to run which maintains it and it is open to the public – but they are trying decide how much they want maintain/restore or let it be swallowed up by the rainforest.

Virtually the whole the site can be walked or climbed on without rails or protection if you have a head for heights, but the drops can be immense. When Health and Safety laws catch up to Xilitla – they have a problem.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:

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The Queen’s ring Gate
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The path of the seven deadly sins! Snakes on the left and a couple of mushrooms with Dali-esque moustaches on the right.

Just in case any of the deadly sins has escaped you memory they are:

  • Gluttony
  • Lust
  • Greed
  • Pride
  • Envy
  • Wrath/Anger
  • Laziness
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Las Pozas means the pools and here the river has been altered to create pools, waterfalls, dams and diving boards
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A bath?
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A gothic screen
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Stone flying arches
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Plaza San Isidro – a central meeting point
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Concrete Bamboo screen
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Structures and Rainforest – its a long drop if you fell!
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The elegant bridge to nowhere. Ms Pacifica walked it!
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One of the only structures you weren’t allowed onto… which was alright with us!
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If you have a head for heights…
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Flying buttresses
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Concrete Flowers…

In summary – it is well worth the drive to get there.

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